Public First Program


Shane Elson


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+61-3-5952 5780

+61-4-1349 7828

Dec 2008 # 3

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Back to Editorials 2008

Gouge Your Eyes Out!

So now George Bush knows what its like to be a friend of Dick Cheney! Well, at least the guy didn't have a shotty. Might have made for better tele though! Nonetheless, Muntadhar al-Zeidi will continue to languish in an American controlled Iraqi jail until he confesses … whatever. We haven't seen shoes used in such reverential surroundings since Nikita Khrushchev took off his off and banged them on a desk in the UN.

What is interesting is that his reason for doing so was when a delegate from the Philippines launched a broadside at the colonial rulers who, even today, impress their will on subjugated peoples. Interesting isn't it, how 48 years later the imperialists are still encountering shoes used as protest props. It's a pity the much larger media delegation present at the time didn't stand up for al-Zeidi and use their voices and bodies to raise the serious questions that should be raised when Bush mounts the podium.

Anyway, enough of that. It did add some colour to the ever decreasing range of political emotion we are seeing from our own crop of current rulers. Australian politics has, since the Rudd ascension, become an even paler shade of beige. Just how bad it is was brought home to me the other evening.

I was sitting watching what passes for news on the TV when I turned to the trouble and strife and said, “I miss the Howard government”. Both of us nearly wet ourselves when we realised what I'd said. I'm not sure who was more shocked, her or me. Anyway, the upshot was that I got to thinking about how bland the Labor lot are.

Where is the toffy, born to rule, guy with the perpetually red cheeks and expanding corpulence? Where is the former almost monk with his sharp tongue and acid wit? Where is the ever shining Minister for Agriculture or something who single handedly saved the Australian wheat industry? Where is the highly coiffed women who scribble on blackboards or power dress to the max? Where are the fun and games? Whole weeks go by and the unions don't take to the streets. They'll get out of practice unless they dust off the banners and get to a waterfront or store house and chant their uniquely Ozzie “Oi, Oi, Oi” style chants.

Oh, I long for the days when I hung on the words of politicians waiting for a faux pax that I could use here. I long for the days when Costello would round on the opposition and leave them scrambling for a witty retort. I yearn for a glimpse of Howard, cocking his head, raising his eyebrow and pursing his lips as he told us another porky pie. He had great body language. Horrible policies but you could read him like a book.

Where is the smirking Costello and the terrier Abbott? What a team they would have made. Lively, always ready for a bit of biffo, if they and Hockey had made the front row, we would be enjoying World Championship Politics. Sure, the Libnats had their weaknesses. I wonder if anyone has woken Ruddock up and told him they didn't win this time? Poor old Barnaby seems to be the only one on that side of the Senate who took his goolies with him. OK. Score one for colour. He did arc up a bit last week but it was a little to little far too late.

My therapist says that I should take a more balanced response to conflict. I smacked him around to seeing things my way and we get on much better now. But boy, I've got to tell you I am seriously over the KRudd (he he. When I typed that in my spell checker changed it to crud). He sounds like a real try hard. He exudes passion like a B52 at 20,000 feet. All noise, you know its there and you realise that whatever its dropping on you is not good for your future prospects.

Gillard. Or should I say Julia, is turning out to be just an extension of the PR wing of the Labor party. Sure, she has landed a few heavy hits on the opposition but when she speaks I want to gouge my eyes out with a nail file. She bores me almost as much as Penny Wong. I'm sorry Penny but your nose is for blowing snot out of not speaking through. The two of them are more wooden that Ruddock ever was and that, my friends, is saying something.

I was going to mention Peter Garrett but what has he done that is worth mentioning? Mmmm, let me think about that? Thought so. Nothing worth writing about. I heard through a mate in Canberra that his staff have attached a GPS to him because they need to justify their own jobs for a minister who doesn't do anything worthwhile. A whole cadre of them now spend hours checking his whereabouts so they can tell the media “he's unavailable for comment at the moment” and be sure he is.

Which brings me to another great disappointment. Steven Conroy. He was supposed to be a leading light. The man who was going to sort out the mess Coonan and Alston created by trying to bend over too far for the media moguls. Conroy did emerge from hibernation a few days ago to make a few noises about something but when Sol and Donald rang he quickly retreated to the safety of his panelled office and a cup of camomile tea.

Nicola Roxon could be a good minister if she hadn't allowed herself to be corralled by the same vested interests that held the Howard government to ransom on health matters. While nice to look at, her depth of knowledge and understanding of the portfolio seems to be just one small step behind her. Like a wind up doll she faces the prospect of becoming another Julia or Penny in a few years.

I could go on but I'm getting depressed again. I saw a comment in one of the weekend rags which said something like, “Howard, Rudd? Same arse, different cheeks” and I must admit the great saviour KRudd is letting me down. He is supposed to be younger than Howard but often seems like he's old before his time. Not in a wise and sagely manner, but just in the way he presents.

He seems uncomfortable in crowds and unsure of himself. I guess all those years of being Goss's toe cutter has probably made him aware that somewhere, out there in punter land – that strange and dangerous place where all those inconsiderate and unappreciative people live – is a punter, with a pair of size tens, ready to let loose at him. Maybe, if that were to happen, I would, for one night at least, get to see some real pizazz in Australian politics and the Labour party on the evening news.

By the way. I reckon the award for the most balsy protest in 12 months go to Anikka Dean, the protester who was dragged out of Rudd's concession speech to the coal industry the other day. Dragged out the door while she continuing to remind us of the truth of Rudd's deception, she at least demonstrated that some Aussies are passionate about politics even if our pollies aren't.

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